At the Oregon Zoo, breeding programs are the norm. The whole point of the Zoo is conservation of nature, and that involves tending to dwindling populations of local wildlife. And I admit… I get hyped about Baby News at the Zoo! A new baby elephant? I wanna see it! The lionesses are pregnant? Clear my schedule; I’m going! A new baby otter? Sign me up for another yearly membership!
So when they announced over the weekend that the California Condors are expecting a new hatchling… why wasn’t it a bigger headline? I think it’s a PR problem. For instance – the condor that laid the egg? It doesn’t even have a name! Condor #756 is the mother of the new egg, and #756 is the same one that produced an egg last year… and that’s the whole story. Remember when Samudra the elephant was born? We knew his whole family tree! He was the first third-generation elephant born in America! He’s the son of Rose-Tu and Tusko! We knew everything about him.
For #756? I think I’ve maybe seen her at the Zoo? Is she the one that sits on that one branch? Or that other branch? Or is she the one that sits on the branch-thingy?
Here’s another interesting comparison between the two: there are between 40-50k Asian elephants in the wild. They’re heavily endangered, and their numbers continue to decline. They’re in trouble, so any efforts to help them should be appluaded. Guess how many California Condors are left? Like 500! Total! They are WAY MORE ENDANGERED! But still… no hubbub.
Dare I also say that it’s because they’re ugly? That’s a rough thing to say… but it’s true. It’s just harder to sell the public to care about them!
Anyway. There’s a new baby coming at the Zoo. Let’s try to care about this one.
~Jake from 98.7 The Bull